It has been a great couple of weeks and weekend. I have been doing a lot of photography some of which I will share in this article to include the images that I have taken recently. Because of all of my recent activity, I am behind in processing recent images and posting them to my blog. Regardless, I am about to celebrate a significant milestone–i.e., breaking 20,000 views on my blog. It will happen by the end of the day or tomorrow. Thank you to all of you who have been following my blog and especially to the many who take the time to write comments. I am passionate about nature photography, and my blog has turned into an effective way for me to share that passion and my images.
Two weeks ago, as well as yesterday morning, I went to Leesylvania State Park and photographed the sunrise and a pair of Osprey that return each year to the same location to rebuild their nest and raise their young. While at Leesylvania, I photographed (opening image) a Great Blue Heron standing motionless on one leg on the fishing pier railing in the early morning light before the sun began to rise.
Above is an image looking down the Leesylvania fishing pier that I shot two weeks ago, and below is an image that I took yesterday morning as the sun was rising above the same pier. Normally, a cloudless sunrise is much less interesting than one with clouds, but as the sun rose above the pier, it made the otherwise less interesting sight very beautiful.
Below are several of the Osprey images. The Ospreys were rebuilding their nest, and in the below image, the male Osprey is returning to the nest with a small branch.
After depositing the branch, the Osprey took off for more nesting material. It was interesting watching them as they took turns searching for and returning with nesting material.
In between working the nest, they did a little mating, as you can see in the first below image. After mating, the couple relaxed together and enjoyed the warm sun, as seen in the second photo.
Below, the male Osprey took off for more nesting material.
After leaving the nest, the male Osprey landed on a nearby piling (below), and then called to his mate, as I zoomed in for a close up photo.
That same morning, as I was photographing the Ospreys, a Great Blue Heron was perched in a tree at the end of the pier (below) keeping an eye on the activity and basking in the morning sun.
On Thursday last week, I located the pair of Barred Owls again. This time, the trees were full of bright green, new leaves that provided a colorful background as I photographed the owls. They seem to be getting used to seeing me, and calmly perched in the nearby trees as I photographed them.
Below, the pair were together for the first time for me to photograph them on the same branch. Unfortunately, they were not both looking in my direction, but I included this image since they can be seen together.
While I was watching them, they mated. Apparently, the female has not laid eggs yet, but I was able to photograph her as she entered her nest (below). As you can see, the area is heavily wooded, which will make it difficult to capture images of the owlets in about a month or two. Nevertheless, I am planning to try.
One more image of one of the owls with its wing outstretched. It is difficult to appreciate the size of Barred Owls from these images, but they average 20 inches in height and can have a wingspan of 48 inches. They are silent flyers, making no noise as they fly, which I have experienced a numbered of times as they swooped over me to another location.
While photographing the owls, I could not pass up a shot of a River Cooter (turtle) out of the water and up on a tree limb also enjoying the spring weather and sunshine.
I have more images to share to include those that I took yesterday afternoon while checking, as a volunteer, the Bluebird boxes at Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area. More than half of the 15 boxes had either eggs in them or hatchings. I will post those images in an article later this week. While at Merrimac, I photographed the below Black Racer that was enjoying the warm sun on top of an old, rusty furnace near an abandoned and dilapidated house at the farm. Black Racers are a very common snake in the mid-Atlantic and southeast United States. Fortunately, the Bluebird boxes are far away and have protective baffles, preventing snakes from entering the boxes.
I am concluding this article with an image of a beaver (below) that I photographed near our dock.
I was on my upper deck and looked down at my dock and noticed a beaver in the water alongside it. I quickly grabbed my camera and went down to the dock, and as I approached, I saw that the beaver had moved up onto the shoreline of the lake. Unfortunately, the beaver also saw me and quickly slid into the lake, but I was able get some photos of it as it swam away. The lake water, as you can see, was covered in pollen, small leaves and leaf blooms that had just blown out of the trees from a passing rain storm. The white swirls in the water are reflections from the clouds above.
I do not know about you, but I am having a fantastic spring enjoying and photographing all that Mother Nature has brought to us this year. I have many more images to share and am planning many more photography trips to include Florida in May and Honduras in early June.
All of the images in this article were taken with a Nikon D800 camera and various lenses to include a 600mm, 20-70mm, and 70-200mm.